About Us


Arewa House is the center for historical documentation and research of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. Located at No. 1 Rabah Road, in the Residence of the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello Sokoto, Sardauna of Sokoto. The center is concerned, not only with research and documentation of the history and culture of the people, but also with contemporary studies on Policy, Peace and Leadership. The aim of the House therefore is to serve as a center for documentation and research in history and contemporary challenges.

Though under the authority of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Arewa House has an independent Board of Trustees and Governing Council. It is headed by an executive Director, who runs the day-to-day activities of the House.

As a center for historical documentation and research, Arewa House is concerned with procuring, preserving, analyzing and discussing issues of national and International interest and in particular with issues of specific interest to the development of northern Nigeria. The history of Arewa House as a Center for Research and Historical Documentation goes back to the year 1970 when the “History of Northern Nigerian Committee” was given the responsibility of writing a book on the history of northern Nigeria. This was after the dissolution of the three regional governments in the country and the creation of twelve states, which also led to the establishment of the “Joint Interim Common Services Agency” (ICSA) to oversee the joint assets and liabilities of the six newly created northern states. It was in this respect that the residence of the late premier of the Northern region, Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna, was formally approved to serve as an office for this project with the name “Arewa House”.

A distinguished scholar, Professor Abdullahi Smith, founding member of the Dept. of History, A.B.U. was appointed as its first Director. In 1975, the control of Arewa House was transferred to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria on the orders of the then Federal Government of Nigeria. Under Professor Smith, a solid foundation was set that made Arewa House a unique place for research and historical documentation in the whole of West Africa. Arewa House is today one of the few reputable research centers with an enviable core collection of books and manuscripts including higher degree dissertations from various Universities in Nigeria and abroad. These dissertations cut across different fields of study, most particularly humanities and social sciences. Most of these dissertations are of thematic interest to the study of Northern Nigeria. These collections are further strengthened by a rare collection of Arabic manuscripts, Premier’s office records, government publications, Newspapers and other serial publications, which are housed in the Archives.

Arewa House welcomes research students and provides research affiliation to students from all parts of the world conducting research on any aspects of the state and society in Northern Nigeria.

Arewa House has a moderate and affordable accommodation for researchers and non-researchers who are duly registered with it. Other facilities include a Conference hall, Training rooms, Bookshop and a Restaurant.


  • Maintenance of Museum as a memorabilia to the life and work of the late Sardauna of Sokoto, and illustrative of the cultural traditions of the North.
  • Organisation of academic and cultural activities appropriately associated with such Museum, together with an advisory service for State Governments in the field of Museum development;
  • Maintenance of an Archive to house the records of the former Government of Northern Nigeria;
  • Organisation of services appropriately associated with   such an Archive, including an information service for state Governments, and practical facilities for training of State Archives
  • Maintenance of research library to include all printed publications (including government publications) bearing on the history of the North, together with manuscripts, theses, maps, pictures, tape-recordings etc.
  • Promotion of research on the history of the North in all aspects and periods by members of senior staff of the House, and the provision of facilities for approved post-graduate workers in this field from other Institutions (including facilities for post–graduate work by government personnel in education, information, and cultural affairs, tourism, Community development, etc).
  • Publication of the results of research undertaken at Arewa House in the form of books and journals to be published by the House.


To serve as a Research based reference point for the preservation and generation of new knowledge that would be the catalyst for social, political, economic and transformation of Northern Nigeria in particular and the Nigerian nation in general.


Arewa House shall be a centre of excellence in Historical Documentation and Research for the promotion of unity and greatness in Nigeria, embodied in the achievements and aspirations of late Sir, Ahmadu Bello.


As an academic institution, the goal of Arewa House is to provide institutional continuity and sustainable documentation – on Northern Nigeria. It is primarily concerned with procuring, preserving, analyzing and discussing issues of national and international interest, particularly as they affect the development of Northern Nigeria.

Arewa House for the past decades has been engaged in promoting the following activities especially in relation to the Northern Nigeria

  • Historical Research and Documentation
  • Arabic/Ajami Manuscripts Preservation
  • Seminars & Conferences
  • Publications and Journals
  • Northern Education Summit
  • Lecture Series
  • Workshops



Arewa House is made up of the following Units:

The Center is engaged in series of partnerships and collaborations with different institutions across the globe. The most reputable ones include the following:

  • The Islamic Manuscript Association (TIMA), University of Cambridge
  • Center for the study of manuscript cultures, University of Hamburg
  • SAVAMA DC, Bamako Mali
  • Afro Arab cultural Institute, Mali
  • IRCICA, Istanbul Turkey
  • University of Khartoum, Sudan
  • Centre for Trans Saharan Studies University of Maiduguri , Borno State
  • Jos Museum Arabic Manuscripts Collection, National Museum and Monuments Jos Plateau State.
  • Northern History Research Scheme, Department of History, Ahmadu Bello University, Samaru Zaria. Nigeria.
  • National Archives of Nigeria Kaduna.
  • Kano History and Culture Bureau Kano,
  • Sokoto History and culture Bureau, Sokoto State.